Term of Award

Winter 2001

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Steve Jenkins

Committee Member 1

Gregory Chamblee

Committee Member 2

Gregory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 3

Sharon Taylor

Abstract

Algebra I has been in the high school curriculum in the United States for over 100 years. More recently, to equip all students for an ever-progressing, technological, and global society, Algebra I has become a requirement for students to earn a high school diploma. This mandate has produced a high failure rate for Algebra I in high schools. This study examines a strategy to increase student success. It utilizes flexible learning time made available through the 4x4 block scheduling format to provide immediate remediation.

All students enrolled in Algebra I for the first semester of the 2000 - 2001 school year were asked to participate. After 9 weeks of instruction, students showing weaknesses in content formed the Paced Algebra class. These students were retaught the first 9-weeks course content. Attitudinal and achievement instruments were administered throughout the course. Achievement instruments were teacher made tests constructed using textbooks and the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum. The attitudinal instrument was the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scales (1976).

Analysis of descriptive and inferential statistical tests showed that significant differences (p < 0.05) existed on the pretest between Algebra and Paced Algebra students. Also, significant differences (p < 0.05) existed between Paced Algebra and Algebra students at 9 weeks. After Paced Algebra students were remediated, no significant difference (p < 0.05) existed between these two groups. Results indicated that Paced Algebra students and Algebra students had no significant difference (p < 0.05) in content knowledge when the second half of the course was taught, implying that immediate remediation had prepared students for subsequent course content. Attitudinal instrument findings showed no significant differences (p < 0.05) between Paced Algebra and Algebra students. There was very little change in students' attitudes as they progress through the course. Students' attitudes were relatively stable and did not show a relationship to their achievement in Algebra I. Finally, an examination of group demographics showed that prerequisite knowledge and attendance were the most distinguishable differences between successful and unsuccessful students.

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